India beat Pakistan by 4 wickets in both teams' first Super 12 match of the 2022 ICC T20 World Cup.
Chasing 160 runs, India ensured victory with a last-ball win in a thriller of a contest.
India rode on a sensational 82 not out off 53 balls from star batter Virat Kohli to register the win.
A batting masterclass from Virat Kohli steered India to a thrilling four-wicket win over Pakistan in the Super 12 T20 World Cup opener between both sides at the MCG in Melbourne on Sunday, 23 October.
Chasing 160, India rode on an unbeaten 82 off 53 balls while Hardik offered good support with a 40 off 37 deliveries.
Batting first, three wickets from Arshdeep Singh (3/32) and Hardik (3/30) helped India restrict Pakistan to 159/9. For Pakistan, Iftikhar Ahmed (51 off 34 balls) and Shan Masood (52 not out off 42) impressed with fifties after an early wobble.
Arshdeep, Hardik Pick Three as Pakistan Post 159/8
India got off to a rollicking start, courtesy of an excellent new ball spell by seamers Arshdeep Singh and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Featuring in his maiden T20 World Cup, Arshdeep dismissed Pakistan skipper Babar Azam for a golden duck in his very first ball. The left-arm seamer then deceived the in-form Mohammad Rizwan (4 off 12 balls) with a short ball to put India ahead early in the game.
Bhuvneshwar, meanwhile, made good use of the overcast conditions at the MCG with his swing and kept the run flow under check as Pakistan struggled at 32/2 after first powerplay.
After a cautious start, Shan Masood and Iftikhar Ahmed steered the Pakistan innings to safe waters with a 76-run third wicket partnership before Mohammed Shami returned into the attack to dismiss the dangerous Ifthikar.
A quickfire fifty from Ifthikar seemed to have brought Pakistan back into the game but Shami’s breakthrough triggered a collapse.
Hardik Pandya then dismissed Shadab Khan (5), Haider Ali (2) and Mohammad Nawaz (9) in quick succession to finish with figures of 3/30 from his designated quota of four overs.
New batter Asif Ali (2) alos departed as Arshdeep grabbed his third of the day with Pakistan reeling at 125/7 after 17 overs. While wickets kept falling around him, Shan kept his ground and hit a composed 52 not out of 42 balls to anchor the Pakistan innings.
Shaheen Shah Afridi offered him support with a late cameo of 16 off 8 balls but Bhuvneshwar Kumar send him packing as Pakistan ended their innings with a fighting 159/8 after 20 overs.
Kohli Dazzles in Successful Indian Chase
India lost opener KL Rahul (4) quite early after he inside-edged a Naseem Shah delivery onto his stumps. Haris Rauf then entered the attack to dismiss Rohit Sharma (7) as the Indian skipper poked one to Iftikhar Ahmed at first slip off.
After two early wickets, man-in-form Suryakumar Yadav arrived at the crease with a beautiful straight drive off Rauf’s delivery. Suryakumar offered the Indians some hope with his elegant strokeplay but couldn’t extend his stay as Rauf sent him back to the pavillion after making 15 runs off 10 balls.
It went from bad to worse for India as Axar Patel (2) got run out following a mix-up in the middle involving Virat Kohli. Kohli and Hardik offered India hope by pushing the score to 100 runs, but with just five overs left in the game the target seemed too uphill a task.
A 100-run fifth wicket partnership between the duo kept India in the hunt as India needed 16 runs from the final over following some explosive hitting from Kohli, who remained unbeaten on 74.
Drama ensued as India lost Hardik (40 off 37 balls) in the first ball of Nawaz’s over. A no ball and wide followed as the pendulum soon turned in India’s favour with the team requiring two runs from as many balls.
There was another twist in the tale as Karthik got stumped on the very next delivery but Nawaz bowled another wide and with just one required off one ball, Ashwin finished the proceedings as India won a thriller of a contest.